Girls' water polo moves past Hersey, looks towards Fremd

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Senior Danielle McCallister passes to senior Niki Neumann May 9 during the IHSA sectional quater-final game against Hersey. The Knights won 15-7 to advance to the second round for the first time since the 2011 season. (photo by Cassidy Selep)

By Molly Mueller (@mollykmueller_)
Girls’ water polo dominated the Hersey Huskies in the first round of the IHSA sectional tournament at Schaumburg High School May 13 winning 15-7. This is the first time the Knights have made it past the quarter-final round of sectionals since the 2011 season.
The Knights were led by senior Danielle McCallister with five goals, followed by senior Niki Neumann and sophomore Gracie Dix with four goals apiece. Junior Gianna Honcharuk and and freshman Ann Fulk each had a single goal. Goalie junior Lauren Broz blocked 12 shots and let in six while sophomore backup goalie Mary Claire McAleer let in one.
“I felt good,” Neumann said. “I thought it was a solid game… but I definitely felt there was room for improvement for our next one.”
According to head coach Natalie Tucker, the team went into the game with the mentality of gaining an early lead and keeping it. And that they did. The Knights were up 5-0 before Hersey scored their first goal halfway through the second quarter.
“We really showed our strengths,” Tucker said. “Our offense didn’t pull any punches.”
Although the team focused on offense against Hersey, defense will be key against Fremd May 15 in the semi-final round.
“We switched Niki Neumann over to our strongest defensive position, which takes her out of the running somewhat for shots although she [does] a fabulous job at [defense],” Tucker said.
The Knights face off against the Vikings at 5:45 at Schaumburg High School. Admission is $5.
“We are going to hit them full throttle,” Tucker said. “We’re not going to hold back. We’re going to try to get up early and we’re going to try to hold them.”